My Indian Friend, The Salary Man, and Mr. Lebanon

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I set off for Tokyo to get on the plane at Narita the morning after my sisters exhibition. I decided to make the trip by Seishun which is a cheap ticket only available three times during the year.  The ticket is cheap, but it can take a long time (An estimated 10 hours all the way to Tokyo).

I got a funny feeling when I started to pack. I was so busy in the days prior to leaving, so I didn’t have too much time to think about what I was going to do. Coming back from my last trip to Singapore, I was high on excitement. I wanted to travel more and somehow make it possible to do it often. Now after a year of working and going through the motions, my actions became very stiff and uniform. I was sad at the thought of this years trip not being as impacting as last year’s.

I started walking down the hill at five in the morning along with other neighbors who were running down the hill to be on time for work.

The whole ten hours on the trains were a blur. I was exhausted throughout the whole 7 transfers. The most interesting part about the journey was having a head-shaking contest with a baby that was sitting next to me at one point.

Tokyo is apparently 475 kilometers from where I live. It is not terribly far, but they seem like different worlds to me. The feeling of the city and people are different compared to the ones in Kansai. Couples seem more affectionate in Tokyo, and would kiss, hold hands, and hug in public where I have not seen that much in here. It was nice to see so much love in the cold air.

My friend offered to let me stay at his apartment for one night. The only catch was that he would not come home until late. In Japan we call the people with corporate jobs “Salary Men”. The people in Japan work like dogs and my friend was no exception. He works from 8:00 in the morning and gets home at 12:00 at night. Even when he gets home he works until 3:00 doing other research for the company.

Until I met him, a friend from Lebanon took me around the town. He knows me well, and brought me to an awesome Starbucks and ordered me something with extra cream.

I finally met my Salary man friend when the clock struck midnight. Suit and briefcase in all, he looked different from the university student I had known him as.

He helped me get ready for the following morning. I managed three hours of sleep and I was off the following morning to catch a plane at Narita airport.

I planned to meet the Indian friend at the airport at 8:00 AM. I came ten minutes early and he came ten minutes late.

He would be my travel buddy along with two others for the next couple of weeks. What would this trip bring? Only time would tell.

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